Pic of the Month: December ‘10

by | Dec 31, 2010 | Pic of the Month | 5 comments

Christmas Bells


It amazes me how pleasing compositions unexpectedly produce themselves. Of course, it’s hard not to come away with a winner when one is standing on a mountaintop at sunrise with mist rising out of the valleys, or on a beach at sunset directly following a torrential rainstorm. But it’s those everyday, “normal-rich,” “profundity-scarce” situations that always surprise me.

Of all the pictures I took during the Christmas Conference at the beginning of December, this picture was the only one that really made me say “Wow”. However, I wasn’t thinking anything different when I took it. Every time I see a potential subject, every time I compose and focus on it, every time I press the shutter release, I think about what factors will affect the exposure, what elements will build the composition, and what goal, emotion, or purpose I am trying to reach. But not every picture is a “Wow” picture. In fact, very few are.

So this is why I keep taking pictures; not random pictures, or pictures that will be of no use to me later. Don’t take me wrong; I choose my subjects carefully. But when I see something that tells a story, brings back old memories, or stimulates emotion, I will do my best to capture it despite the likelihood of a favorable outcome.


  1. Michael

    The blue cloth and the yellow lights provided you with a very noteworthy opportunity to capture that striking color contrst! I think that’s the most significnt factor that “makes the picture”. There is also a nice dark-light contrast while not too abrupt; it still retains a very soft feel to it. I say “wow” too.

    What if you lowered the camera slightly, moved it to the left slightly, and zoomed up just a hair more so that the foreground bell would subtly become more the obvious primary subject of the picture instead of being “in a corner”? Of course, you wouldn’t want to create too much distraction from seeing more of what was above/behind the table to the top and right.

    It might do just as well to crop a sliver more off the top and right of the picture.

  2. Robert

    That picture brings back good memories for me, James! Playing bells at Christmas Conference was so much fun. 🙂 Yesterday, Kerzdenn talked a lot about depth of field, which you used very well in this picture. It’s so Christmassy!

  3. Daniel Staddon

    Those were my bells! 🙂 I didn’t realize what beautiful instruments I was playing.

    After trying to take a few pictures myself the past few days, I have a new appreciation for truly beautiful photography! Well done James.

  4. James

    Thanks for the comments, Michael. Good points to consider.

  5. Victoria Morrison

    Really like this picture! I can just imagine the music! And the way it was taken makes it so beautiful!



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